TROUBLED care provider Southern Cross has denied there is a staffing problem at one of its North East homes.
Stanley Park Care Centre in County Durham was the subject of an unannounced inspection by the Care Quality Commission in December.
The watchdog had “minor concerns” about staffing levels and asked Southern Cross to take action.
A second visit by the commission in March found the home did comply with national standards on staffing, but overall it “was not meeting all the essential standards of quality and safety” that were reviewed.
A member of the public, whom The Journal has agreed not to name, alleged that staffing levels had been cut back so much that on occasions one employee was left to deal with up to 35 residents on a night shift.
It was also claimed that visitors to the home were asked to help serve meals because of a lack of manpower.
It was suggested that staff were “demoralised” as they couldn’t give the quality of care they wanted to. Last night Southern Cross said the allegations were “speculative” and insisted residents of all its homes were their priority.
Area manager Joanne Elliott said: “The staff and the management team at Stanley Park are committed to providing quality care to all Stanley Park residents. Southern Cross’ priority is, and remains, the provision of quality care for all of its 31,000 residents.”
The March inspection revealed “minor” concerns over whether residents were receiving “safe and appropriate” care and “moderate concerns” over staff training. The company has since submitted an improvement plan, detailing how the issues highlighted are being addressed.
Five members of staff were suspended from the home earlier this year.
The commission said Durham County Council was responsible for ongoing monitoring of the home. Regarding the allegations on staffing levels, head of adult care at the council, Lesley Jeavons, said: “We are always keen to hear any concerns from members of the public regarding the provision of care.
“While it would be inappropriate for us to comment on the detail, I can confirm we will be taking these matters forward with Southern Cross.”